Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss, even blindness. Glaucoma is often referred to as the "silent thief of sight" because it usually has no symptoms in the early stages.
There are several types of glaucoma, but the most common form is called primary open-angle glaucoma, which develops gradually and affects peripheral vision first. It is important to detect and treat glaucoma early, as vision loss from glaucoma is permanent and cannot be reversed.
During a routine eye exam, the optometrist will check for signs of glaucoma, including:
Elevated intraocular pressure: Glaucoma is often associated with increased pressure inside the eye.
Optic nerve damage: Glaucoma can cause damage to the optic nerve, which can be seen during an eye exam.
Visual field loss: Glaucoma can cause loss of peripheral vision, which can be detected during a visual field test.
An optometrist may use specialized equipment to measure the intraocular pressure, like tonometry, and use techniques like visual field testing and optic nerve evaluation to screen for glaucoma.
It's important for people to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year or as often as your optometrist recommends based on your individual needs, age, and family history. It's also important to inform the optometrist about any risk factors that you might have, such as family history of glaucoma, high blood pressure, diabetes which increase the risk of developing glaucoma.
If glaucoma is detected, treatment options may include medications, laser therapy, or surgery. It is important to follow the treatment plan and regular check-ups as prescribed by the optometrist to slow the progression of the disease and prevent vision loss
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease that affects the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision. As the macula deteriorates, it can cause a loss of central vision, making it difficult to read, drive, and perform other activities that require fine visual detail.
There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD is the most common form of the disease, and it occurs when the cells in the macula break down slowly. Wet AMD is less common, but it can cause rapid vision loss. It occurs when new blood vessels form under the macula and leak fluid or blood.
During a routine eye exam, the optometrist will check for signs of AMD, including:
Changes in the macula: The optometrist will examine the macula to look for signs of degeneration or abnormal blood vessels.
Visual acuity: The optometrist will test your ability to see fine details, which can be affected by AMD.
Visual field: The optometrist will also test your peripheral vision, which can be affected by AMD.
An optometrist may use specialized equipment such as fundus photography, optical coherence tomography (OCT), or FAF to check for macular degeneration.
It's important for people to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year or as often as your optometrist recommends based on your individual needs and age. It's also important to inform the optometrist about any risk factors that you might have, such as family history of macular degeneration, smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, which increase the risk of developing macular degeneration.
If macular degeneration is detected early, there are treatment options available such as anti-VEGF injection therapy, laser therapy and nutritional supplements to slow the progression of the disease and prevent vision loss. It is important to follow the treatment plan and regular check-ups as prescribed by the optometrist.